Why am I doing this? Seriously? Why?
After days of pressure, flirtatious comments and bouquets of exotic flowers, I finally decided to put Sirius out of his misery and agree to go on a date with him. His face lit up into a huge smile as I burst out my reply “FINE! I’LL GO ON A DATE WITH YOU SATURDAY WEEK!” then, he skipped back to his cubicle and wrote memos all afternoon that flew to a halt on his desk when his best friend, James Potter, replied.
But this was one date. I could do that! Not that it would ever be more than one date. One date, then I could safely say I’d done it and he would lay off of me for a while and maybe give in to Jess’ advances.
She was prettier than me, cooler than me – hell, she could do magic! But Sirius never commented on my wandless state – nobody had worked it out yet.
Anyway - I suck with dates. The last date I had was with a rugby player called Ben Curden who took me to Burger King for a saver meal and talked about his gym membership for nearly two hours. After that horrific experience, and terrible goodnight kiss, I vowed to never date someone who enjoyed sport again.
But hello hypocrite! I take up a job in a Sports Department and then agree to a date with an ex-Hogwarts Quidditch player. And he wouldn’t tell me where we were going.
So, for hours I’ve been at home, wasting my Saturday afternoon ironing clothes, prancing around in front of the mirror and shaving my legs. As I styled my hair, Audrey Hepburn bleated in the background, calling for her cat and inevitably falling in love in the process. I smiled. It was a beautiful love story – and it always made my heart flutter just thinking about my own George Peppard and looking as fantastic as Holly Golightly always did.
Where would we be going? Could I wear jeans and a jumper? Or some sort of dress and scarf? What would I have to wear! This was so infuriating.
So, as the clock chimed seven o’ clock and the doorbell sounded, I screamed in agitation. Still wrapped in my towel and with damp, natural (as in curly – yes, it was usually straight) hair, I stalked to the door and wrenched it open with a shout.
“If I knew we’d be staying in…” he winked, letting himself into my colourful flat and looking around, evidently please. “Nice place.”
“Stop! You need to tell me where we’re going – I don’t know what I’m meant to be wearing!”
“What would you usually wear?” he said, looking me up and down, smirking at my half-naked appearance.
“NOT THIS!” I cried, turning back to my room and slamming the door.
“Just put on some jeans and a t-shirt, Lexie. It’s fine – I’m not the kind of person who judges by appearances.” His muffled reply floated through the door. Against my own will, I smiled, and grabbed my smart jeans, pulling them on quickly.
“I hope you mean that!” I laughed, discarding the towel on the floor and flinging open the wardrobe doors, searching the rail for something half decent.
“Would I lie to you?” he called back, amused by his own forwardness.
“Urrrm…” I shouted, grabbing a coral, long sleeved jumper from its hanger and squeezing into it. I then carefully applied some lip balm and touched up my makeup. Presentable?
“Come on – it’s only me, Clarke. If you don’t wanna wear anything then that’s fine with me…”
“I’M COMING!” I shouted, grabbing my scarf, hat and gloves. I walked in to the living room without glancing at him and grabbed my bag from the kitchen, putting my lip balm in it and picking up my coat that was draped on the breakfast counter.
“Wow!” Sirius wolf whistled as I came back around to face him.
“What?” I asked, hands on my hips.
“You look nice.” He said simply, drinking in my clothes – which did fit me nicely.
“Oh, urm… Thank you.” I stammered, looking away to put my grey, knitted beret on my head. The November nights were freezing in London and I didn’t fancy going on a date and returning as an icicle.
“You don’t believe me?” he asked pompously, getting up and pulling his own grey tweed jacket on. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a simple, black t-shirt that accentuated his toned body better than my own jumper accentuated my hips. He looked hotter than normal.
“Urm…” I stumbled, still looking at him as he turned away to get the door.
“C’mon, wrap yourself up – we’ve got a date, remember?”
“Give me your hand,” he said, as we exited the building and walked out into the cold street.
“W-what?!” I chattered, my voice lost in icy breaths.
“Well, seeing as you can’t apparate, you’re gunna need to take my hand,” he said, looking at me intently and turning his lips into a coy smile.
How did he know I can’t apparate?
“Just give me your hand,” he sighed as my gloved hand fell into his. He laced his fingers into mine and squeezed them in support. He moved forwards and turned, and suddenly, I gasped for air as we left the safety of solid ground and seemed to squeeze through a small rubber tube. I stumbled slightly as we, well, as I came back into contact with the ground and ended up in a crumpled heap on the icy floor.
“Owww!” I moaned, rubbing my ankles and looking up at Sirius whose amused expression really set me off. “You could have warned me!”
“What did you think was gunna happen?” he asked, his smile meeting his eyes. His eyes that seemed to know more than he let on…
“Urm…” Well, I didn’t know. I’d never apparated before.
“That’s what I thought. Come on…” he said, taking my hand without invitation and smiling down at me. “You look cute all bundled up like that.”
“Can you stop complimenting me? Please?” I asked, infuriated as he pulled my hand so I walked closer to him.
“Why?” he asked, eyes forward, a smile playing on his lips.
“Because it’s…” I started but I stopped. Why didn’t I want him complimenting me? Because I was different? Because I was scared?
“Nice? You never get compliments do you?” he questioned.
“That’s not the point…”
“That’s entirely the point! You deserve the attention. And I’m gunna give you it. So stop complaining!” he said, raising his eyebrows at my surprised expression.
“Okay.” I said quietly, looking around at where we were. “Are we…”
“We are.” He whispered, kicking open the black, grimy door and entering the quiet pub. There were wooden beams overhead that looked like they would fall in a small gust of wind. The tables were small and rickety and the bar was long and gleaming. On the other side of the room was an open door that lead into a courtyard. When we reached the courtyard, Sirius retrieved his wand from his jacket and tapped the bricks on the wall. Immediately it sprung aside to let us pass.
I gasped without thinking. Sirius turned to me in surprise, then ushered me into the cobbled street. It was empty really, except for a few shops that were alive with dancing candlelight. Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, the pub we had just exited that was infamously named the Leaky Cauldron and a small, dusty shop opposite the ice cream parlour called Ollivander’s.
“Welcome to Diagon Alley,” he said.
“Of course…” I said. In his eyes I should have been here before, right? “I love Diagon Alley.”
“You’ve never been here before,” he stated, pulling me along into the shop named Ollivander’s. I was speechless.
“W-what? Of course I’ve been here before…”
“Don’t. Just stop. Enjoy the date, okay? Forget everything else,” he said, pushing open the door so a small bell tinkled and a wrinkly old man with startling blue eyes emerged from the back of the shop.
“Sirius Black! My my you’ve grown up a bit. Your cousin’s new daughter was in here during the summer buying her first wand – such a different, special girl,” he said, shaking his head in thought.
“Dora’s great – she just likes having a head of rainbow coloured hair,” Sirius laughed as Mr Ollivander walked forward and shook his hand.
“What can I do you for, Mr Black, that required me to keep my shop open until this late hour?” he asked, his eyes widening as he turned to look at me. I gripped Sirius’ hand tighter.
“This is Lexie Clarke,” he said, pushing me forward slightly.
“Nice to meet you,” I said, smiling at the aged man whose own smile blinded my own.
“Lexie Clarke,” he repeated quietly, hurrying to the back room faster than a bird on a wing. Sirius chuckled quietly, dropping my hand and moving over to sit on the old desk that looked like it would collapse with him sitting on it. It looked like it had seen better days.
“Lexie – stop. Just forget your insecurities, okay?”
“I have my reasons,” he said quietly, his eyes smouldering as he looked up to smile at me.
Before I could reply, I unwilling broke eye contact and stared at the man who had run back in holding a long, dusty box. His grin was still apparent as he opened the box at the counter and called me forward.
“I’ve had this one in the safe for a long time,” he said, picking up the wand from its ancient wrappings and holding it up in the candlelight.
“W-what?” I choked, looking at Sirius who smiled encouragingly, his grey eyes hard.
“For you. Your wand?” he said, confused.
“I-I… People like m… I can’t have a wand.”
“Says who?” Sirius asked, surprised at my words.
“Says me. Says the whole freaking Wizarding World! I can’t have a wand!”
“But, Miss Clarke-“
“I wouldn’t even know how to use it!” I moaned, pulling off my hat and running my hands through my hair.
“You’ll learn.” Ollivander said quietly, handling the wand carefully and polishing it so it gleamed.
“I was never allowed to go to Hogwarts. I was never accepted. I never got the letter.” I cried, my eyes nearly brimming with tears.
“I’ll teach you.” Sirius said, smiling at me.
“I can... I will,” he said, jumping down from the desk and grabbing both of my hands tenderly.
“I’m a Squib! I’m not allowed to do magic!” I cried, looking down at my shoes.
“Yes, you are,” he whispered, tilting my chin up to look at me properly.
“Why did you bring me here? HUH? To torment me, like you do every day?” I said, pulling away from him.
“No…” he said, his voice louder this time as he took me by the wrists again.
“Well, what then?!” I shouted, venom searing my throat.
“Because I knew, okay? I knew.”
“That doesn’t even answer my question!” I shouted, stunned at his honesty. Sirius Black, a good guy?
“I know you’re miserable. I know you yearn to be like us. And now, you can.”
“Yes, Miss Clarke. You can. Your body can learn to attune to magic, to your wand. You will never be great, never as powerful as normal witches – but you’ll still be magical.” Ollivander said, slightly disturbed at the argument brewing in front of him.
“I will?” I asked, hope bubbling in my chest.
“I’m very sure,” he replied, handing me my wand.
I took the handle and inhaled deeply as a heated tingling travelled up my arm. The wand seemed to grow hot in my hands, making me want to drop it. But I didn’t let go. The feeling of having a wand in my hand, of being able to finally do magic, was too strong for me to drop.
“Now, a casual flick please.” Mr Ollivander said. Was that smile on his face a permanent tattoo?
As easy as breathing, I flicked the wand carefully and watched as water spouted from it and puddled onto the floor.
“Oh my God.”
“Nicely done, Miss Clarke. Enjoy your new freedom,” Ollivander said, grinning at Sirius as I understood the obvious dismissal. Sirius tossed him some coins and walked me out of the shop, his hand on my lower back as he guided me into the ice cream parlour across the street.
“Sit down, I’ll be back in a second,” he said, pointing to a small booth at the back of the parlour and walking over to the counter.
I looked down and smiled at my new wand. I, Lexie Clarke, a Squib, had a wand. What could I do with it? Nothing. But I had one, and that’s all that mattered. I didn’t notice Sirius sit down next to me and place an ice cream sundae in front of me because I was still watching my wand.
“Like it?” he asked quietly.
“Like it? I love it!” I cried, flinging my arms around his neck in reflex. I stopped and removed them quickly, blushing, when I realised what I’d done.
“So you’re not mad at me?” he asked, a little surprised.
“I only did it because I like you, a lot. And I wanted to make you happy. I thought this would make you happy.”
“It has made me happy.” I said, grinning.
“So I’m forgiven?” he asked, grey eyes twinkling.
“Yes, you’re forgiven.” I sighed, picking up my spoon and delving into my ice cream.
“And I can go back to complimenting you again?” a wolfish grin on his face.
“Well… I don’t see the harm.” I pondered, eating the cream with my finger.
“Good. And Lexie, you shouldn’t worry.” He said, suddenly serious.
“Huh?” I said, biting the glacé cherry quickly in surprise.
“No one else knows. Except James. Which mean Lily probably knows. But that’s it. And I respect you more for not telling anyone, to be honest. You’re brave.”
“Urm, thanks.” I replied, slightly put out by
“And pretty. Definitely pretty.”
“But then Sirius’ lips were on my own and even my wand was forgotten as his hands found the nape of my neck and touched my cheek gently.
“You could have done that without a wand,” he said cheekily, breaking the kiss and leaning his forehead against mine.
“But I wasn’t magical back then. I’m sure that was ten times better than it could have been,” I laughed, kissing his cheek swiftly.
“Doubt it,” he laughed.
“Why?” I asked, backing off slightly.
“You’re my magic, Lexie. Witch or not, you’ve got me under your spell…”
“And I don’t wanna break it,” he whispered, his hands holding my head. He held my gaze for what seemed like hours, then he glanced down at my lips and kissed me, softly.
One date with Sirius Black? Oh yeah, I can do one date.